tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 13, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
working regular people, black and white, way before we had a president, we had a king, and he made us all understand we're royalty. that's why we're going to march saturday and we're going to pause and hold hands on sunday. we're going to make the dream a reality, a reality for working class, unemployed, the people dr. king gave his life for. we'll pause in prayer on sunday, and thank god for martin luther king. thanks for watching. i'm al s ght now. hitting mitt and raising cain. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, team obama says it's mitt. president obama's campaign team has seen the republican future and it's mitt romney, or certainly most likely mitt, so they've decided to take him on,
to define him before he can define himself. to go after romney early. and one reason they're doing it is because the other -- well, the gop candidates haven't done it. obama versus romney. our top story tonight. plus, raising cain. he tops the republican charts in our new nbc news "wall street journal" poll, but what happens when people realize his 999 plan is designed to shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the poor and middle class? excuse me. maybe they're going to like that idea on the republican side. also, there's no question the occupy wall street protests are going in size and intensity. my questions tonight, how do the marchers translate their genuine anger and frustration into actual change? once they're done getting attention, how do they get laws passed? and we're going to get to that tonight. and william donohue, the head of the catholic league, is calling on rick perry to cut ties with pastor robert jeffress, the man who called mormonism is a cult and catholicism a fake religion.
finally, let me finish with my belief that an american's religion is a poor guide to their politics and an even worse guide as their worth as a leader. we start with obama versus romney. dana milbank is with "the washington post" and ron reagan is brilliant. obama's senior strategist on a conference call late yesterday on the record now, criticized mitt romney and made it clear the obama camp thinks romney's the one to beat november next year. here's a sampling of today's headlines, by the way, in the papers. obama camp sets sights on romney, that's in politico. team obama flips over romney in the "new york post." mitt romney, gop front-runner in 2012, official race now focus of white house, democratic barbs. that's in the "new york daily news." everybody's on to this story right now. dana milbank, start with you. it looks to me like they've decided they've got to hit this guy now. there's pluses and minuses. why is obama hauling of out the
cannon now? >> the iowa caucuses are two months away, but the chicago caucuses were held this week. and axelrod got on the phone with plouffe and the others and said they had to do this. they didn't want to do it, because they wanted to have this titanic battle with all of the republicans going after each other, doing obama's work for him. unfortunately, that didn't work out -- >> i think they made him their may queen this last debate. they were all romping around him like a rope, saying how great he is. >> exactly. three weeks ago, they were saying, they really don't want to kill rick perry off just yet, because they think they could do some more damage to romney. they no longer -- they feel that they have to get into the game now. they didn't want to sully themselves at this point, but there's no choice. >> here it is, romney's debate comments about the payroll tax that put the obama team in a fighting stance. let's listen. they think they've got some opportunity here. let's listen. >> if the payroll tax cut is not extended, that would mean a tax increase for all americans. what would be the consequences of that? >> look, when you give -- as the president's bill does, if you give a temporary change to the
payroll tax and you say, we're going to extend this for a year or two, employers don't hire people for a year or two. what it takes to create jobs is more than just a temporary shift in a tax stimulus. >> so you would be okay with seeing the payroll tax cut -- >> look, i don't like temporary little band-aids. i want to fundamentally restructure america's foundation economically. >> "little band-aids." he was talking about the payroll tax, talking about unemployment comp, the only source of livelihood for people who have been unemployed for a year or two. here's a video president obama sent out yesterday about republicans and the payroll tax cut, and took a swipe at romney along the way, of course, not by name yet. getting close, though. let's listen. >> they'll be forced to decide whether we should cut taxes for middle class americans or let them go up next year. in fact, that's exactly what one of the leading republican presidential candidates suggested we do during last night's debate, allow taxes to rise by up to $1,000 next year for struggling middle class families. >> it's already hand to hand,
the president again -- >> the democratic national committee was quickly out with this web video, criticizing romney. let's listen to that. >> i'm not worried about rich people. they're doing just fine. >> so you would be okay with seeing the payroll tax cut -- >> look, i don't like temporary little band-aids. >> corporations are people, my friend. >> i think they got that music, ron, out of some italian comedy. i don't know where they got that one from. i guess it was meant to be rinky dink. anyway, going after romney, putting him down, miniaturizing him, basically, saying, here's a guy looking out for the rich, who thinks that unemployment
comp is first aid. a band-aid. >> mm-hmm. yeah, and the democrats seemed to have hit on his weak spot also in terms of the flip-flopping. are we hearing more from mitt here? >> i'm hearing from you. can you hear me? >> i'm sorry. i saw mitt up on the screen. >> i'm all ears, ron. >> we seem to have hit on that weak spot too of his flip-flopping, and i think that's going to hurt him with everybody. mitt romney basically has two constituencies, right? he's got the conservatives, who he has to win for the primaries, but he's got independents, who he needs for the general election. so i think the obama campaign eventually will settle on a sort of twos track strategy there. and for the conservatives, i think it will involve, i would think it would involve a warm embrace over romney care, reminding people that the romney plan in massachusetts is really what obama based his health care plan on. that ought to please conservative republicans a lot. >> yeah, they're putting out words, dana -- putting out words the last couple of days that
obama benefited from the specialists of the romney camp. they were actually helping him define -- design his program based upon the success of obama care, earlier version, meaning romney care. >> very generous of them. but there's a little bit of schizophrenia going on here in how obama's handling romney. on the one hand, they want to do the flip-flopper, turn him into al gore, a little bit of john kerry, but that's a fundamental change from where they'd been earlier in saying, he's just as conservative as rick perry. you know, it's conservative monster versus flip-flopper. you can't really have it both ways, because they're going at each other. >> what's the stronger attack? mark penn was sitting there in that seat a couple days ago, and he said, the strongest attack, if you're obama and his team and want to keep the white house for four more years is nail this guy as a conservative, a man of the right. let him -- stick him in the cement over there. >> that's how it had been, until as recently as a couple of weeks ago. they had made that pivot now, maybe they decided they can't, compared to that republican --
>> they better decide what they think about the guy. here's another dnc web video, ron. here's the one you were anticipating out this week. it takes on romney's changing position on roe v. wade. i'm not sure what they're doing, but let's listen. >> i believe that since roe v. wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it. and i support and sustain that law and the right of a woman to make that choice. and that's why as a pro-life republican, i'm in favor of having the supreme court overturn roe v. wade. >> that's a great question, ron, and i think dana's made it, you were alluding to it earlier. what is his attack on romney? is his attack that romney is a conservative? or is it that he doesn't know what he is, because he might be a man of the middle. my worry is that the middle may be where most of the votes are come 2012, and it may not be so you smart to say he might just be a man of the middle, therefore,
your man to the voter. >> well, being a man of the middle is one thing, but not being a man of any stripe whatsoever is another. and i think what they want to do is hang that label on him. that this is a guy who will say anything to get through the week. and that happens to be, apparently, the truth. i mean, both things are true. i disagree with dana a little bit. i do think that the obama administration can have it both ways with mitt romney, because both things are true. he is now claiming a more conservative mantle, so you can go after independent voters by reminding them of all the things he has now said while running in the republican primary, but for conservatives, remind him that he flip-flops all the time, and again, embrace him on o'romney care or whatever you want to call it. >> well, certainly every time that obama or his surrogates open their mouth about romney now, they're only helping romney, because no matter what they say, if obama doesn't like romney, that's going to put him in better shape with the
conservatives and his party. that's why it's so unusual to come out this early. and i think it presages a very ugly campaign to come, that we're seeing the roe v. wade coming out in these early days. >> do any of you doubt that if the country lurches further right in the next year or two, god help us if it does, that romney wont be right there with them? ron, you first. you think he might catch up to the crowd? >> of course he will. he'll follow the crowd wherever he has to in order to win the primaries. i mean, that's just what he's going to have to do. >> are you saying he's a mood ring? a man who's just capable of -- >> yes! of course he is. >> -- one thing, but doesn't know what he wants. he just wants to be loved enough to be president, whatever that happens to be? >> exactly. >> he's that bad? >> that seems to be the record. >> sort of the woody allen zelig character, who adopts the attitudes of the people around him, but that's also potential good news in the left. who knows? nobody really knows. >> this is the one weird thing, ron.
>> you're hitting him on the way that some of the right-wing guys will hit him. a lot of the right-wingers say, why should we do another herbert walker bush or bush w. we've elected people that look like rich people, have old money in all three cases anyone who says they're conservative, they flip into the establishment. they cede read my lips and then tax us. they say they're not going to be big spenders and g.w. is the biggest spender. they despise that kind of flip-flopping. you say that liberals as well should despise it. >> i think everybody despises that kind of flip-flopping. that's what we forgot. it's not a partisan issue. when you see somebody that doesn't seem to stand for anything, who goes whichever way the wind blows, you distrust him no matter what his politics are. that's one of the problems that mitt romney has. >> but didn't you want a slinky when you were a kid? i'm just kidding. that was my favorite toy. the thing that went up and down the stair and slinked from one -- dana, does both sides hate slinkies?
>> and seesaws. americans love a see saw, i think. there's real potential here. >> this is dangerous, these metaphors. thank you, dana milbank, and thank you, ron reagan. you must have had a slinky. >> i had a slinky. next up, let's talk about raising cain. it looks to me that romney wants this guy to be his only alternative so he can knock him out in the fourth round. just my guess, he wants him as his -- look at him looking there kind of fondly. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ female announcer ] so you think your kids are getting enough vegetables? yeah, maybe not. v8 v-fusion juice gives them a full serving of vegetables plus a full serving of fruit. but it just tastes like fruit. v8. what's your number?
points, 45 to 41, in the generic ballot on who do you want running the congress. 45 to 41. that's a fairly substantial lead, i think just at the edge of the -- what do you call it -- i forgot what you call it -- margin of error. anyway, that's a ten-point swing from last month, that's a big switch when voters preferred the republicans to be in control by 47 to 41. that is a real shift. i can't quite explain it, except the republicans have been holding out on every issue. and that's the largest lead democrats have had on that question for two years. so something's perking up for the ds or perking down for the rs. we'll be right back. welcome back to "hardball." if there were buttons for this? wouldn't it be cool if your car could handle the kids... ♪ ...and the nurburgring? or what if you built a car in tennessee that could change the world? yeah, that would be cool. nissan. innovation for today. innovation for tomorrow. innovation for all. ♪ so i got my nephew ii neto build a website.,
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welcome back to "hardball." how does herman cain plot a course to the republican nomination? does he have a real shot, in fact? a lot of people were asking themselves that question after yesterday's big surprise result of our own nbc/"wall street journal" poll. after all this talk and buzz and straw polls, here's a real national poll, one of the best polls there is. here's herman cain up from 5% to 27%, while mitt romney frozen
there at 23rd. nothing has changed. rick perry's support has gone way down from 38% down to 16. everything's moving except romney's staying still and cain is rising. so he's clearly on the rise. but is this just the latest in a long line of republican contenders who have taken the anti-romney mantle for a brief period only to lose it? past examples include donald trump, michele bachmann, and rick perry most recently. between august and october, rick perry lost 22 percentage points while herman cain took it away from him. has cain got the staying power? what is his game plan for actually winning the nomination? we've got an expert here, right now, michael steele, an msnbc political analyst, and of course, the former rnc chair, and another expert, who's independent, and a great journalist, of course, howard fineman, editorial director for "huffington post." michael, i want you to start on the inside and the outside for howard. he has a notebook open for this. if you look at the fact that all
of this is coming pretty quickly now. we're halfway through october. november, december, and then the game's up. he has to have a plan to win the iowa caucuses, probably win or do very well, do decently well in new hampshire, and perhaps have to win by south carolina, at least compete. tell me how you would take these bulbous poll numbers and apply that and get it going on the ground in iowa to start with? >> i think, first off, you've got to right now the cain campaign is doing the holy crap, this thing is starting to gel for us. so there's a little bit of shellshock there, but the reality for him is to get off the book tour and really get on the ground in at least one of those two states. because if he posts very well in like iowa or new hampshire, then he locks in that vote. and that's what the voters are saying right now. we like you enough that we're prepared to lock in with you and take this ride. and i think, not so much, necessarily, for the nomination, but at least the number two spot, i think you -- >> let's talk about number two in two minutes. howard, here's the question. can he pull a huckabee in iowa, without a whole lot of ground
game, can he win that thing? >> well, he's as eloquent as mike huckabee. i saw herman cain in front of the new hampshire legislature yesterday, and he hit it out of the park. he was quoting from the book of ronald, you know, chapter and verse, as in ronald reagan. he talked about live free or die. he hit every chord of the new hampshire conservative heart, but he doesn't have an organization. he doesn't really have one in iowa. he doesn't really have one in new hampshire. i mean, this is the point where anybody who has not signed up has to get signed up, and talking to people, republicans all across the board in new hampshire, the last previous couple of days, i didn't hear any big organization for herman cain getting out there. that's the problem. now, mitt romney has got big numbers in new hampshire, but as somebody pointed out to me, you know, all of romney's road signs are on the highways, they're not on people's lawns, which is -- that matters. people aren't putting the signs on their lawns, okay? so there's the lawn factor.
herman cain's got to get some signs on some lawns in iowa and new hampshire and he's got to do it fast. i haven't seen it yet. >> can i ask you an existential question. you're african-american, your party doesn't have a whole lot of african-americans, so i'm not going to play the umpire and say it can't happen. i am skeptical, though, of his success in that party, your party. now, here's the question. why wouldn't he go for it? sure, he's got a book tour. he'll have a bigger book tour if he gets to be a nominee. why doesn't he say, okay, i didn't think it was going to happen, like, hey, i'm on television, it's time to do it right, it's time to learn the business. why doesn't he learn how to be an organizational politician? >> i think he will. i think right now there are people who are going to be lining up, certainly some of the political intelligencia who want to work on this. >> is he a good bet? >> i think he is a good bet. i wouldn't short him like you short -- >> would the fallback be he gets to vp? >> absolutely. i think the base right now have found the guy they've connected with the most, more than the others. >> that's for sure. >> and i think right now with
his plan on his 9-9-9, he's got to come correct on that. he's got to be able to defend that and really push on that, but i think the base is kind of locked in on this guy and they like him. and if romney is the go-to for the nomination, herman cain is the guy -- >> i've got to ask a question, because it's america, after all. tim scott, south carolina, you've got allen west, you certainly had j.c. watts years ago, republicans will vote for an african-american who agree with them on policy, if they're ideological, but will they do it for president? >> oh, i think they will. i think they will. i think that dynamic -- it's going to be tested. obviously, it's going to be tested. but i think herman cain has put the seeds in place. now he's got to germinate it by putting the organization together. >> let's see if he can do it. where does cain's support come from? according to the nbc/"wall street journal" poll, fascinating numbers, he has more support from people who say they're highly interested in the campaign, in other words, intense conservatives. people over 55. that's interesting. men! this is a conservative profile. people with college degrees, tea party supporters, people who identify themselves as very conservative.
let me go to howard here. romney supporters on the other end tend to be liberals. they consider themselves to be less interested, women -- not less interested in women, but women, non-tea party republicans, and moderate or liberal republicans. howard, this is interesting. this is what you might expect. he's the tea party candidate. >> he's what i would call the western conference where romney wins the eastern conference. >> yes. and by the way, that description of cain supporters was basically the floor of the new hampshire legislature, which has turned very republican in the last year or so. they're all 55-year-old guys, you know, with weird sports coats and flat-top haircuts, to generalize only slightly. but the problem, i think, that herman cain has got is not race. it's the fact that 9-9-9 is very controversial because of sales taxes, and because he keeps saying, whenever he's asked how he's going to solve a problem in specific, he keeps saying, i'll
turn to my advisers, to my group of advisers. who are those advisers? it seems a little too on the fly. he's not only got to get an organization, he's got to get some substance. >> i agree. >> let's teach the people. let's learn some things here myself. "the new york times" describes cain's 999 plan as little more of a sketch that would be a radical and complex overhaul of the tax system. in developing it, mr. cain relied heavily on mr. lowery, who he calls his lead economist. he's in a wells fargo office in pepper pike, ohio. they can put that down all they want. that's in "new york times." my question is, is the republican party ready to shift our tax burden from income from personal taxes you and i pay and corporate income taxes over to
the consumer? i think they might. it's a more regressive tax, it hits the little people more. are they that cynical to say, yeah, let's lay more tax burden on little people? >> i don't think they are. i think that's the rub. i think howard's right on that point. i think ultimately that's the rub. when you look at a state like new hampshire that does not have a sales tax, all of a sudden you're going to impose -- federally impose a 9% sales tax? that is going to be hard to swallow for a lot of folks. >> they don't have any taxes in new hampshire. >> right, exactly. so i'm sitting here thinking, the excitement that's been generated by herman has not necessarily broken down into the meat of his proposals. >> yeah. >> so we'll see whether or not he can -- >> well, that will be -- howard, that will be an acid test, when people begin to take his programs seriously, they mean they're taking him seriously as an actual, possible president, not just as a fun way of not voting for mitt. >> right. and that's what's going to happen over the next two or three weeks. the way this campaign has been run, everybody gets a couple of weeks, they go on the -- they sort of get chopped up in the meat grinder and come back out the other side. if they're still standing, fine. none of them have so far. mitt romney had 23% before, still has only 23%. he's the only constant constant in the race at this point. >> and because he's a constant, that means he's got -- >> let me try this.
if you take half the country's republicans, that's 23% of 50, that's about -- he'll get 11.5% going into the general election, right? i'm just kidding. could be. howard -- >> funny man. >> obama about 87.5%. thank you, howard fineman, thank you, michael steele. looks like it may happen. cain for president. up next, hillary clinton gets an answer to the question some people just can't resist asking. that "today" show keeps pounding her on this question. she had to answer it again today. that's in the sideshow next. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. you know when you push your hair to the breaking point?
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it on last night's show. >> hello. i'm mitt romney. >> no i'm not. >> and i'm ready to fight for america. >> nah-eh. >> i have a job plan to help deal with our nation's soaring unemployment, and this plan will bring jobs back to our country. >> that jobs plan won't work. >> i'm a patriot and i love the red, white, and blue. >> i also love the colors orange and purple. >> of course, magenta's the best. >> send me to washington so we can finally put regular, hard-working people above these greedy corporations. >> corporations are people. >> i'm mitt romney, and i approve this message. >> no, i don't. >> that was pretty good. now, to the question, is romney a moderate? good question. or is he a conservative? here's the keeper of all things holy and conservative to tell us. >> romney is not a conservative. he's not, folks.
but he can argue with me all day long on that, but he isn't. this isn't personal. not with what the country faces and so forth. i like him very much. i've spent some social time with him. he's a fine guy. he's a very nice gentleman. he is a gentleman. but he's not a conservative. >> well, there you have it from the grand vizeer of conservatism, romney's not one of them. next up, travel snafu, that might be the case for george w. bush as he firms up a trip next week for an economic summit. what's the catch, the human rights group, the great group, amnesty international has officially called on the canadian government to arrest the former president for violating international laws saying, "canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former president bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law, including torture." well, it looks like bush is in the clear for now, at least,
since the canadian government had nothing but criticism for amnesty international and for their call for his arrest. although this is not an entirely new situation for president bush, as he felt compelled to scrap a trip to switzerland back in february when human rights groups were similarly calling for his arrest there. and finally, one more time, here's hillary clinton saying one more time there's no possibility that she'll get the upgrade to vip. >> if you googled yourself today, you would find the suggestion that perhaps you would be vice president, that you could -- there would be a switcheroo and you might possibly be the vice president and biden would come over to secretary of state. is there any chance you you would be vice president in the second term? >> no, there is not. >> is it in the realm of possibility? >> i don't think it's even in the realm of possibility. >> has anyone ever raced the possibility with us? >> no, it's not a serious issue in the administration. >> there you heard it, i think,
finally. although i'm sure it will come back again. up next, those occupy wall street protests are gaining some traction, but what's the big question here, can the protesters turn their anger into real action, real change in this country? everybody wants to know that, i think, even the bad guys. can they make something happen, those people? you're watching "hardball," only-on msnbc. only on mismsnbc. tle emotional hetlretl?tl aren't you getting a little industrial? okay, there's enough energy right here in america. yeah, over 100 years worth. okay, so you mean you just ignore the environment. actually, it's cleaner. and, it provides jobs. and it helps our economy. okay, i'm listening.
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here's what's happening. president obama says he will call on the international community to impose the toughest sapgss possible on iran over the alleged plot to assassinate the saudi ambassador in washington. in the meantime, the state department confirms at least one direct conversation with iran about the alleged plot. officially the u.s. and iran have no diplomatic relations. court filings by the ex-wife of the man suspected of opening fire in a california salon
described him as unstable and -- and. a strong tomorrow passes through. and raj rajaratnam was -- and he said using propofol as a sleep drug was a gross deviate from how it is normally used. now back to "hardball." back to "hardball." the occupy wall street movement is still in its fantasy, of course, but the protesters have gained the support of about a third of the country now, that's according to our new nbc/"wall street journal" poll this week. it's a great poll. 37% say they support the movement, that's higher than the number that supports the tea party.
that's a significant advantage, which is 26. but there are still real questions about the staying power of those people, there they are, camped out in the streets of new york, and where does it go and where will it find tangible support in washington, if it does. and for that matter, will anyone step up to act as a leader for the movement, or at least represent their concerns here in washington. john larson's a congressman from connecticut and chairman of the democratic caucus. he joins us now. congressman larson, you are a levelheaded leader of the party, the democratic party, and i keep waiting for that crosswalk, for all this energy and passion in the streets of new york and elsewhere across the country to come u with, a, a clear message, a clear demand for a specific action, and for you guys on the center and left in american politics to, dammit, do it. when will that day occur? >> the frustration just mounts here. from your lips to god's ears. i don't think there's any third
grader in america who doesn't the understand that two-thirds of the nation supports the president's jobs bill. 14 million americans out of work, 25 million underemployed, and they read in the paper, bill passes senate 51/49, president's bill defeated. it doesn't add up. it doesn't make sense. but, then again, neither does the cloture vote, in my opinion, and i think the opinion of a lot of americans. and then the act that the senate does do, in terms of china currency is approved by an overwhelming majority, and yet held up from coming to the floor in the house. there is hope, in this super committee, and i think the efforts of people who have taken this frustration to the streets are important. now, whether or not we're able to tap into that. when i say "we," i mean the country. what's at stake here is the country seizing this opportunity to do the right thing on behalf of 14 million americans out of work. >> okay.
but you guys keep blowing it. look, here, why didn't harry reid jump on mcconnell the other day, when mcconnell said, i'm going to give you an up or down vote right now on either the president's version of the bill or harry reid's version of the bill, and he could have said, okay, we'll do it, and i'm going to give you 51 votes plus the vice president and we'll have the bill passed. he could have done it that split second, instead, he held back and said, i can't get bill nelson, i can't get mary landrieu. if he were able to deliver his troops, we would have a jobs bill, at least through the senate. maybe. you know that. i'm telling you what you already know. >> yeah, at least in the senate. >> but i wish the democratic party would jump and see their opportunities and say, it's never going to be perfect, but you know i'm right, and grab that baby. >> you are right. chris, you are probably one of the few people that pointed out, and i share this view, that mitch mcconnell should have been "time" man of the year last year. when we were in the majority, they blocked 497 bills. to see this bill fail when the majority of america supports it, and a majority of the senate
supports it, you're right, they should have seized the day, it should have been a carpe diem moment for the senate, and they did not. and the prospects of the house taking up the bill are probably nil. so our hopes really pin on this super committee that's out there. and as you've heard me say several times, we believe very strongly that, look, job creation equals deficit reduction. the cbo has said very clearly, a third of the deficit can be reduced by putting people back to work. and there are like-minded republicans, we're hopeful that we can reach across that divide, but i hope the people continue to take to the streets and put the pressure on. >> i just -- it seems to me, congressman, and you have all the leadership ability and you're respected by your colleagues, it just seems to me this tax structure is going to get changed eventually, i suppose. maybe you'll get rid of capital gains treatments, maybe some day in 100 years, but the situation is right now. you've got an unemployment situation that looks like it's going to stay with us for two or three years, around 10%.
it may go back up by over 10. we don't know. don't you think it's time to do something more than even just this bill, and really put 2 million or 3 million people to work right now, it would be a healthier country? and i don't know why the president can't find some way to do that. i don't know what he does, but put the pressure, go on the road and don't stop pounding. >> exactly. and i don't know how many more times he can reach out to the other side. but clearly, he has a bill that's before congress. and whether you agree or disagree with that bill, my god, give it an up or down vote. we know that it's got a majority of the senate that supports it by virtue of the vote yesterday. take the bill up, for god's sake. include eric cantor's proposals. include mitch mcconnell's proposals, but let's act on behalf of the american people. that's the frustration of the wall street movement, that there's no action down here. and it's all caught up in inside the beltway jargon. who, for god's sake, understands what a cloture vote is out there? you do. other people do. but most of the american public says, my god, can't they do
something down there? and that is the frustration expressed by people who have taken to the streets. >> well, maybe you should take every pork proposal by every republican in the last ten years, put it in one bill and say yes. anyway, thank you very much, congressman larson, i was almost serious about that. thanks for coming on. good luck in translating the actions and voices in the street into action. and we're joined right now by e.j. dionne who's a columnist with "the washington post" and an msnbc contributor. e.j., just got a couple minutes now. tell the country right now what you said in your column today. >> well, i think that what you've got right now is a republican party that is so committed to the idea that government shouldn't do anything, shouldn't intervene in the economy that their solution is, the way you solve a big problem is for government to do nothing about it. and i quoted to old barney frank line, where he talked about reverse houdinis, who are people who tie themselves all up in knots and say, i'm sorry, i can't do anything, because i'm all tied up in knots. and i think the country actually
wants action, your own poll says it, to get the economy moving. they know the government's got to invest, because private investors aren't investing right now, but you can't get anything through. you saw that in the republican debate and you saw that in the senate. >> let's take a look at these polls. nbc/"wall street journal" poll. it's a hell of a poll, it's our poll and it's a good one. look at these numbers. 63% of the republicans favor the president's job bills. that's two thirds. that's rare in america, sometimes for construction jobs and fair taxes. another one, raising taxes on the wealthy, 64%, e.j. these aren't close calls. the country wants what the president wants, they like the president personally. let's get back to obama for a minute, without laying it all on the republicans. why can't a popular person, who has popular ideas, push them through? what's missing between obama's personal popularity, the popularity of his proposals on jobs and taxes, and he can't move it? is it just republican obstructionism or is there something he doesn't know how to
scare people with? he can't lead by scaring? by what? what's missing here? is it just obstructionism? is that all it is? >> if his own poll numbers are at 60%, a lot of these republicans would be more reluctant to block things, because you know the house -- the leadership puts on the floor whatever it wants and it blocks whatever it doesn't and the senate can't do anything. but i also think the president didn't start making this case until about a month ago. he's really kind of taken a different tact and started to be much more forceful. it may be a little late to get anything through this congress. >> i think we spend too much >> time with the debt, and i know thank you, e.j. dionne, i think the country lost a lot in that terrible logjam over the debt ceiling. up next, pastor robert jeffress, a supporter of rick perry still, has called mormonism a cult, that's a kind word from him, i'm sarcastic. and now he's found similar things to say about the roman catholic church, calls it a fake church. i guess he's deciding on all these things now.
we'll have a little conversation about him coming up in a couple of minutes. here he is on "hardball," only on msnbc. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] with 50 horsepower, dual overhead cams and fierce acceleration, the gator xuv 825i will shatter your expectations. ♪ and so no one gets left behind, check out our all-new, affordable xuv 550s at johndeere.com/gator.
a republican lawmaker in wisconsin wants to split up the state's ten electoral votes by congressional district, this undercutting, thereby undercutting president obama's advantage in the democrat-leaning state. the proposal is similar to the one we saw in pennsylvania, whereby president obama would only win electoral votes from the congressional districts he wins. and the end result could be a republican candidate winning a lion's share of electoral votes in wisconsin, despite losing popular vote in that state. we'll be right back.
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rick perry's a christian. he's an evangelical christian, a follower of jesus christ. mitt romney's a good, moral person, but he's not a christian. mormonism is not christianity, it has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of christianity. so it's a difference between a christian and a non-christian. >> well, we're back. that was pastor robert jeffress and his attack on mormonism, just after he introduced rick perry at the values voters summit here in washington last friday. and it looks like jeffress may have to answer for this attack on catholicism last year. let's listen. >> much of what you see in the catholic church today doesn't come from god's word, it comes from this cult-like, pagan religion. you say, pastor, how can you say such a thing? that is such an indictment of the catholic church. after all, the catholic church talks about god and the bible and jesus and the blood of christ and salvation! isn't that the genius of satan?
>> wow, the genius of satan, the catholic church. rick perry ended up distancing himself from jeffress' comments on mormonism, but will perry now have to cut ties with jeffress over the catholic comments? per ties with jeffress over the catholic comments? bill donohue with the center of the catholic league. and he's calling for perry to make a break with the pastor. you're thoughts about these two. it seems like the word cult comes to mind quickly with this guy to his lips. >> well, the word cult obviously bespeaks a certain ignorance on the part of jeffress, which may be corrected through education. but when he basically says the catholic church is infected by satan, that's not something you're going to affect by education. that's a deep-seated visceral bigotry, and it has to be renounced by rick perry. i'm making it very clear. i don't hold perry accountable for these remarks. in fact, i was told on a good trusted source today, my friend tony perkins, who's an eminently decent evangelical, that perry had no knowledge of this nor woe countenance this. so i want to make that separation. on the other hand, what jeffress
said is despicable, and perry i think for his own good, ethically speaking he should say i want nothing to do with this guy again. >> well, let's look at a couple things to start educating people as you're trying to do now. we haven't been able to get polling on whether or not the evangelicals consider the catholic faith part of christianity or not. but the pew research center has found the following. 76% of evangelical protestant leaders view catholicism's religious tradition naz favorable light. only 24% view catholics unfavorably. that's a pretty healthy 76%. so in terms of the attitudes of even the most fundamentalist preachers out there, they don't have a negative attitude toward the catholic church. so whether the word "cult" has made its rounds or not among that community or not, it is not a nasty attitude, like i think their attitude is toward mormonism. but i'm going to get to those numbers. your thought about that, bill. >> you're catholic, and we're both catholics, and we group at a time when there was much more open bigotry coming from some protestant circles.
i think tremendous progress has been made. certainly i've seen over the last 20 years. i was with tony perkins and dawn weilman and dr. richard land and other evangelicals last week in washington, d.c. nothing like this came out of their mouth because they're not -- they're no more bigoted than you or i are. but there's still progress that has to be made. for some reason there are still some people, i'm sure we have them in the catholic community, too, who exercise a kind of bigotry toward others. it has to be condemned no matter who says it and where -- particularly in a presidential campaign. >> here's where you have an interesting point here. according to livway researf lif whicllptist convention, protest pastors do not hold favorable vufz mormonism. the poll shows 75% of protestant pastors done consider mormons to be christians and the number increases among evangelical pastors to 82%. here's the conundrum, bill, that among the pastors themselves 82%, 4 out of 5, don't consider mormonism to be christian. so when you have jeffress out there, of course the words like
"cult" are als obviously meant to be nasty, but what do you make of their ideological or theological belief that mormons are just not christians? is that -- are they right to say that? >> i'll be quite honest with you. that doesn't bother me. people who are bud exist islam and -- we all have different religions. we should respect the right of other people to practice it. what bothers me is when you get into disparaging language. that's what bothers me. not the theological differences. god bless them. >> and i think in parlance in our country the word "cult" we think of manson. >> right. >> so let's remember, we start using words like that in public, we'd better be careful. thank you so much, bill. >> thank you so much. >> on this one we agree. when we return, let me finish with why i think a person's religion can't predict their predicts, or how good a leader they're going to be. and this is common sense in this country. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. discount. but only allstate gives safe drivers more. a bonus check every six months they drive accident-free. so what's it going to be? eenie, meanie, miney...
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let me finish with this. religion. there's a pride to it. along with the faith that comes with being born into a faith comes a strong stubborn desire to defend it because what you're doing in most cases is defending the beliefs of your parents and grandparents as well, the very roots of your existent. so don't make fun of someone's religion. don't do it because it is a direct affront as well as a direct assault. someone speaks badly or speaks down on the religion you were brought up in and there's either going to be trouble or sadness
or both because it hurts. we americans take a wonderful view of religion as a country. our constitution says there can be no religious test for public office, none. nada. you can't ask, much less demand an answer to the question. you can't even ask the question. people in this country are entitled to believe what they will about the existence and nature of the universe, in which we are all born and live our lives. so this is the heart of it. it's not the value of a particular religion. we're unlikely to resolve that biggest of all questions. it's the pride of a person born into one. more than good manners says don't make an issue of it. mitt romney should or should not be president of the united states starting january 20th, 2013. his religion should have nothing to do with that decision. speculate all you wish about mormonism. i happen to have gotten my start in politics because of a mormon, wayne owens of utah gave me my first job in washington. i have no idea what he believed about god. what i know is that he was a deeply committed supporter of bobby kennedy and a positive
american politician who was elected u.s. congressman from utah and died working for peace in the middle east. i can say the same of senator frank moss of ute for whom i worked in my first job in the senate and whose personal endorsement won me my job working for the u.s. senate budget committee, which led to my working in the white house. what a fine, good man he was. and all the years i knew him i found him to be a solid liberal. i could say the same of the great udall family and harry reid and any number of other good mormons who are also good democrats, along with the many more who are conservative republicans. i bring all this up to make a simple practical point. there are good reasons to vote for and against mitt romney for president. his religion is neither because it is in my experience hardly a guide to his politics. i've known enough of mormons -- enough mormons to know that. and more importantly, i've known enough people in my life of a variety of faiths to know enough of each faith to know their religion is a